How Much Time…?

How much time should you spend studying Japanese every day?

You’ll notice that my question starts with the presupposition that you will study every day.  That consistency is what you need.

But, what if I don’t have time to study Japanese every day?  What if I only have time once or twice a week?  Does that mean that I can’t learn Japanese?

Well…I don’t know, because I don’t know you…but it certainly means that it will be exponentially more difficult.  Especially when you are starting out, you’ll be dismayed at how much you forget between study sessions.  A few days is a long time to let new information go without reviewing it.

So, how much time every day?

You know…I really shouldn’t ask questions that I don’t know the answer to, should I?  But the simple fact is that there isn’t one answer that works for everyone.

I don’t know even know how long I spend studying every day, because it usually gets broken up into chunks, and it actually differs from one day to the next because my work schedule differs from one day to the next.

I think that I would tell someone to spend at least half an hour a day studying.  An hour would be better.

Of course, two hours would be better still, right?  But you have to be reasonable.  Studying Japanese isn’t my life, it’s just a thing I do for the fun of it, so I can’t spend two hours every day.  Mind you, some days I can and probably do, but I don’t time it.

Students often focus on how much time they spend studying, but I find that it works better for me to base it on what I get done rather than how long it takes.  Every do, I do my vocabulary study.  Some days, when I have time, I spend time doing homework, attempting to read a book in Japanese, doing extra work in a workbook I bought…something extra beyond just vocabulary.

There are many advantages to my Cafetalk Japanese lesson, but one important one is that it gives me a deadline.  I have homework to do, and it has to be done before the next lesson.  That motivates me (or, occasionally, sends me into a panic) to get my homework done in a timely manner, and that keeps me moving forward.

Sadly, writing a blog post like this doesn’t actually help me learn Japanese…so now I”ll practice a bit.

今、昼です。ブログを聞いて、昼ごはんを食べます。食べながら、日本語を勉強します。今夜、時間があれば、宿題をします。日本語が上手になるように、毎日勉強します。

There’s actually quite a lot of grammar in there:  using the て-form to connect verbs, ながら for indicating doing a thing while doing something else, a conditional verb, and the use of ように to indicate the reason for performing an action.

All of that in just four sentences.

Really, all of that in just three sentences, since the first sentence is just a plain old declarative.

Ain’t Japanese fun?

頑張って

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